Citibank condemned over current account costs

21 February 2007
Consumer bodies have condemned Citibank for moving to automatically 'upgrade' Sterling current account customers to a Citibank Plus packaged account costing £10 a month, depicting the development as another nail in the coffin of free banking.

The director of financial services at uSwitch.com, Nick White, described the move as "an interesting practice to say the least".

Citibank customers are given the opportunity to opt-out, he noted, but many less financially aware customers would "end up with a fee-paying packaged account they don't want and be £120 lighter in the pocket", he added.

Given that Citibank are introducing a free Access Account, Mr White remarked, it would have been "fairer and more logical" to transfer customers across to the free-to-use account.

"People need to remain one step ahead of the banks," he emphasised.

Switching current account for those hit by the Citibank move could prove the cheaper option – and the same goes for First Direct customers hit by charges introduced on February 1st if they fail to pay over £1,500 into their accounts monthly.

Nationwide customers, meanwhile, could soon be looking to switch after the building society's incoming chief executive, Graham Beale, stated that paid-for current accounts would be "fairer".

To compare current accounts, click here.

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